So after shop-teacher, fintail and I had a discussion regarding off brands from China and Hong Kong that may have likely been Tomica copies, I came across a startling discovery.
Many of these brands used a similar wheel, among other wheels in their respective inventories. Here is the one that I saw used the most by a large margin.
- CF -
First up are obvious copies of Tomica castings by a company known only as “CF,” evident in their CF model numbers cast into their plates. This is a Nissan Bluebird, #CF302. Here is a Toyota Corolla Levin AE86,#CF306. Note that both use a simplistic 8 spoke wheel that has a narrow race for a contact patch, presumably for reduced friction resulting in a faster rolling speed.
- Corgi -
The same wheel can be found in a early 90s recast of Corgi’s 70s Regal police car. From the same era of Corgi we can see the same wheel used on a Ford Transit Wrecker.
- Imperial -
Here’s Imperial’s cheap casting #TC-9328 of a Ferrari Testarossa. #TC-9323 is Porsche’s 944, presumably a Turbo (951) and both arguably (loose) Matchbox copies and both sporting a similar 8 spoke wheel.
- Kenner -
Here’s #1027 from Kenner’s Fast 111's (I’ve heard that it’s pronounced Fast Ones) series, showing an eerily close version of the 8 spoke that we’ve seen.
- Road Champs -
Here’s a brand that I loved in the early 90s called Road Champs, that in their later days used the same 8 spoke wheel. I’ll have more on this brand when I cover it in my Road Champs obscure brand post. This looks like an E36 BMW 3er sedan, unless it’s a vague casting of an E34 5er. Another Road Champs, this time an XF10 Lexus LS400 sedan. Again, same wheel. I also have a Lamborghini Diablo, BMW E31 8er, Ford Thunderbird and NA Mazda Miata with the same wheel. Note that this is a brand called Road Champs, even though Yat Ming has used the series name “Road Champs” as well as “Road Legends,” among other things.
I’ll also cover this brand later, but suffice it to say that I have a few Soma that I also have as later reissued Real Toy castings following the Real Toy takeover. I have a standard blue version of this pickup from the early 90s that is safe to say is a Soma, but this came in a racing pack with other newer Real Toy castings, so it’s presumably a Real Toy. Same 8 spoker. An earlier casting that is likely a Soma, but with the earlier version of the 8 spoker. It’s so hard to tell the recasted Real Toys apart from earlier Somas that only time of purchase can really set them apart, so I usually don’t even differentiate between the two brands but rather group them together.
- Suntoys -
A recent brand addition to my collection, Suntoys makes some interesting castings that will all be covered when I hit them in their post. Here’s #L9835, a ZZT231 chassis Toyota Celica (aka 7th gen) wearing the same shoes.
- Tootsietoy -
Even American brand Tootsietoy got in on the fun, here with their version of the early 90s restyle of the Cadillac Seville. The same wheels are seen here on their Dodge Daytona, possibly a copy of Matchbox’s Turbo Z.
- Welly -
Earlier versions of Welly’s Chevrolet Chevette can be seen in fintail’s catalog post with the 4 slot Tomica-esque wheels, but I got this in the late 90s with the same 8 slotter that we’ve seen recurring here. I’ve actually got a couple versions of this ‘74-79 (thanks shop-teacher) Chevy Stepside pickup with the earlier 4 slotters, but here’s the 8 pot boys again.
- Zee Toys -
So last but not least, here’s an S30 Datsun 260Z custom that I got in the early 90s that is not marked Zee Toys but rather has it blanked out, #D75 from their DynaWheels series. It is wearing the 12 dot wheels that they would be known for until the 1996 takeover by Motor Max, who would continue to use this wheel. Don’t worry, both of those brands will also be covered in later posts. An earlier version of D75 though, actually marked Zee Toys, from the late 80s or very early 90s, shows the same 8 slot wheel that we’ve been seeing all along. Again, unless otherwise marked, these are hard to tell apart as Zylmex, Zee Toys, and Zyll brands.
So what can we conclude from all of this?
My guess is that all of these brands most likely bought this wheel from a single manufacturer of diecast wheel, thus explaining it’s wide use by a variety of value oriented brands. Less likely is that possibly they shared the wheel amongst themselves via licensing.
This has been a ton of fun looking into, and I cannot wait to delve into the obscure brand posts themselves this next week.
Thanks for reading!